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Trekking
owleye
lil_shepherd
Trek fandom has been born again;
I'm proud to be a born again Trek fan


Julia Ecklar: "Born Again Trek"


I was never a Trek fan but, of all the series, the one I have come to admire and like most over the years is Classic Trek also known as The Original Series (TOS). Now, suddenly, I have been given a film that might actually make me call myself a Trek fan.

Yes. The new Star Trek film is that good.

Of course, it has its faults and let us get them out of the way. The plot, in Trek tradition, makes no sense at all, and, as Jennifer Fallon remarks, a course in world building is required and, in particular, someone should take note that an ice planet will not have creatures with bright red exoskeletons. Not that it wasn't a wonderful creature, just not at all likely on that world. The Red Matter was ridiculous. And so on...

But.

For once this does not matter. What TOS had was fantastic pace, great humour, and a central iconic trio of characters whose interactions made the series. (It also had the occasional first class SF plot, and we may get that yet.) It had - get this - character conflict. It did not have managerial conferences in battle situations, or long discussions on morality and Star Fleet regs and it did not have the bloody holodeck.

All this has been imported into this revisioning, given a 21st century sensibility, and gently twisted into a new and interesting shape. Abrams has kept all the best of the old and added shiny new. The casting is wonderful. Chris Pine's Kirk is utterly believable, with all the old Kirk's strengths (brilliance, natural leadership skills, a ability to laugh at himself, unquestioned courage that never gives up, and beneath the flash, a cold rationality that can match Spock's when the choice is between a rock and a hard place) and weaknesses (womanising, refusal to delegate, arrogance), polished the hard edges and added a cocky, in-your-face rebelliousness that comes from his changed upbringing. I am fascinated by this Kirk, and impressed by the little touches of Shatner's Kirk which makes the identity convincing.

Quinto was plainly born to play Spock. This is a younger and by choice a more emotional Spock, and he still lacks a little of Nimoy's gravitas or his sardonic delivery, but that will come. Even when both are on screen together, they convince as the same person. Abrams has confirmed he thinks of this as Spock's movie, in that he is the central figure of the arc, but it is not, specifically, Quinto's movie, because Nimoy is actually the pivot point.

During the movie I was totally convinced by Urban's McCoy. Retrospectively, I'm not quite so sure. This McCoy is less annoyingly irrational, and does less of the "I am your conscience" speechifying that was so particularly annoying in TOS, which may be an improvement, and the accent seemed to vanish a lot of the time - we'll see how it works out. I liked this version of Uhura, am not sure about Chekov, and think that Pegg needs to work on the accent for Scotty until he at least approaches James Doohan's cod awfulness, but he improves any movie he is in, and I loved his take on the character.

The music is great, the FX (by ILM) as good as expected...

But, hell, this movie is so much fun. It gives you a bounce-up-and-down-in-your-seat feel. It makes you happy. It is funny. It is action packed. It is beautifully characterised. It delivers on almost every level. It is by far the best Trek movie, and may end up better than any other version of Trek.

I want the next one now!

Though it isn't perfect and I know it isn't perfect, I really do not care. 5 stars.
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The bad reviews on IMDB (the pro ones on Rotten Tomatoes are highly in favour) are very nearly all screams of rage about changes to continuity, and about how no-one but Nimoy/Kelley/Shatner et al could play these characters properly, or from fans of Next Gen/DS9/Voyager whose continuity has also been upset. It does rather remind one of many fan reviews of LotR. (They changed things! How dare they!)

Simon Pegg said on Woss that the cast were really concerned they were going to screw it.

Then JJ Abrams got them together and said:

"The worst that can happen is that they get us all together in two years time to do it again."

One can only hope....

I understand the long term contracts are in place, and the opening weekend good enough - with a prospect of a slow fall-off - to make a second movie pretty much a certainty.

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